“The Challenge of Being A People On Mission”
As I travel through the Association I find many churches have written mission statements or vision statements, and they all express, in some order, their purpose or vision. In 2008 at the Annual Session I shared the following with the messenger’s.
"I believe the church was created for a singular and primary purpose – To Be On Mission. Reaching a lost world was the heart beat of God, fleshed out in Jesus Christ, and became the sole passion of the first church. We would not be here today had it not been for that passion. There are those who will not be in the
Kingdom unless we accept fully our responsibility to become a people on mission and settle for nothing less."
The church is the living body of Jesus Christ, created by Him to carry out His Mission of reconciling man with The Father. He gave His life for the church and passed on to it the fulfillment of His Ministry. In two thousand years the church has undergone many changes and understandings of its relationship to God and has gone from a handful of disciples to many millions of believers. Thousands of those believers have given their very lives to tell His Story of love, grace and forgiveness.
One wonders if the church today, with all its programs, buildings, staffs, budgets, activities, and overcrowded schedules understands its most important responsibility. To be sure, each church has its own specific calling and unique giftedness of service and mission. It goes without saying that there are many different understandings as to how to carry out that mission. There is even great diversity in organizing the church, as seen in the many denominations and groups who are called churches. Each of these is just as important and significant as the other in the complete picture of the Kingdom. There are many things that make up the complicated church today. Some are borne out of two thousand years of history, experience and tradition. It would be shallow to say those are not important to us and our fellowship.
But, I firmly believe there is one central purpose for the existence of every local church—that is to tell and live the Gospel of Jesus in such a way that men are drawn to the living Savior and find the full grace, forgiveness and hope that is found in knowing Christ. All that we do should be done with the goal of reaching others with the Gospel. The distinction of the church over all other groups is that it exists because God in Christ has reconciled us to Himself, and our primary purpose of being is to bring others into that relationship.
If we truly want to have meaning and purpose as a church, if we truly want worship which is vibrant and meaningful, or we truly want to know the will of God for our local church—then we need look no further than Mark 16:15: "Go ye unto all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature" and Col. 3:17: "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him."
Our purpose, goal and responsibility is to tell others about what Christ can do for them and what He has done for us.